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This article was published 7/7/2016 (1360 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Electricity may not be in the air, but it might soon be in your limousine.
Ricky Brar, president of Hollywood Limousine Service, recently took possession of the first of 16 new $140,000 Tesla electric cars, on his way to becoming the only limo company in the city — and one of very few, if any, in Canada — to go all Tesla.
"We want our clients to have a safe drive," Brar said. "They are absolutely amazing vehicles. I can’t wait for the clients to start experiencing them."
Don’t tell Brar running a limousine company doesn’t require risk-taking or innovation for success.
He started Hollywood Limousine 10 years ago with one Ford Excursion stretch limo. He’s now operating 35 vehicles, including stretch SUVs, stretch Hummers and a Bentley, and will eventually replace all his sedans with the new, sleek and futuristic — and expensive — Teslas.
Brar is confident the significant investment will pay off.
"First of all it is just a beautiful vehicle, the safest vehicle, and the battery life on this is so great we are doing our part for the environment," he said.
The company is committed to 13 Model S sedans and three Model X SUVs.
Six will be dedicated for airport service — with the same $32 fare Hollywood has always charged for a ride from the airport to downtown.
Hollywood’s Tesla fleet will have the all-wheel drive feature and Wi-Fi, as well as smart suspension.
Kenny Boyce, manager of film and special events for the City of Winnipeg, often needs to meet niggling demands from visiting VIPs and entertainment industry types.
"Very often our special guests who visit Winnipeg have a standard that’s an international standard," he said. "This (Hollywood Limo’s new fleet of Teslas) will only add to the great stock in regards to transportation services for the VIPs who visit the city."
A number of Hollywood Limousine’s chauffeurs were present at the unveiling of the company’s first Tesla at the Winnipeg Richardson Airport arrivals terminal. Simer Bhullar said all the drivers are looking forward to getting behind of the wheel of the new vehicles.
"They’re really beautiful, really safe and really fast," he said.
The autopilot function on the Model S allows the car to steer within a lane, change lanes by tapping the turn signal, and manages speed by using a traffic-aware cruise control. Digital control of motors, brakes and steering helps avoid collisions from the front and sides, as well as preventing the car from wandering off the road.
The sleek interior includes a big-screen TV, detailed interactive map of the city that indicates where the car is at all times.
When it travels into new neighbourhoods that have not yet made it onto the digital maps, it will automatically upload the data and automatically update every other Tesla’s map of the city.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.